NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) - The reason why the alleged shooter, George Zimmerman, in Florida's teen shooting death has not been charged by the local police in Sanford, Florida, is because of the state's self-defense law called Stand Your Ground.
The law says people can use deadly force if they have a good reason to fear for their safety.
In Massachusetts, there's what's called the Castle Doctrine.
It says if a person feels threatened at home, he or she can use deadly force to stop the intruder, but a senator from central Massachusetts Stephen Brewer says it should be expanded to say that if a person feels threatened in public places, the use of deadly force should be acceptable as well.
The First Assistant District Attorney Steven Gagne explained, the difference between Florida's law and Massachusetts current law is that here, the law says you must run away from the dangerous situation before using deadly force.
So he says, this proposed expansion could be a drastic change.
"If a person came running at you from 500 feet away wielding a knife saying I'm coming over to stab you, the person would be entitled to hold their ground and shoot," Gagne told 22News.
Some western Massachusetts residents said, the use of deadly force at home is understandable.
Jerry Robinette of South Hadley said, "Police are tied up all the time now. You don't know when they'll get to you to help you out, so if you can't defend yourself, you can't rely on anybody else to."
But they say, expanding the law to include public places might be a little extreme.
Michael Bishop of Northampton told 22News, "I think if everybody had the right to carry guns around in public and defend themselves, then we would all end up shooting each other."
Senator Brewer said in a statement that his proposed change does not protect those chasing after another citizen, which he says was the case in the Florida shooting.